In Ellie’s shoes: Hosting Lessons from Power Brunch Sundays

Aimg_2065s long as I could remember I loved event planning. At the end of 2015, I decided to host a monthly Sunday brunch with new and old female friends in 2016. I was inspired by a potluck lunch I hosted earlier that year – a diverse group of friends from ages, occupation, cultures and life stages.

In 2016, I hosted 11 brunches with 50 women – 16 women came more than once. Among those were students and young professionals in all fields. It was an informal way to meet other women and discuss about work or life – a less intimidating way to meet other women than in a formal setting. I hoped these gatherings would help women take away something useful about themselves or others. These helped motivate me with my own personal and career development. I thank the women who attended Power Brunches and helped at these brunches.

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These are the 3 lessons I gathered as I reflect on my past year hosting.

1). Try new things. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The monthly women’s brunch was new for me to try out. With every experience you grow. It was nice to invite new acquaintances and reconnect with old acquaintances. These new connections lead to new friendships and collaborations.  For example my co-hosting with Narae and Women’s Circle facilitator with Kristen. I learned to enhance my event planning skills as well as understanding how to create an event, and asking for help.

2) It’s more than just numbers. Brunch on a budget. I couldn’t afford hosting an entire brunch hence took a potluck approach. At the beginning I tried to do new recipes and DIY. It got more expensive. Towards the end of the year, I set a budget of $25. I got creative reusing items that I had in my apartment and going to the dollar store. Event planning logistics take time to organize. I eventually used a shared potluck google drive list. I tried to host every first Sunday. However, during the busy fall season it was more difficult to schedule. Just learn to be flexible. Over all the best times as a host were the brunches that were the simplest one. Those were the ones that I could sit and relax. I have deeper appreciation for event planners and people who host events at their home. It takes a lot more work than you think. Cleaning, cooking, keeping track of invites, hosting to make sure everyone is feels welcomed and cleaning up afterwards.

3) Everyone takes something different away from the experience. With 50 women there will be  personalities that are introverted and extroverted. Some like structured and others do not. Quality is more important than quantity. People encouraged me to make the brunch bigger and better. But as I understood it took a lot of more resources and time to change. Keeping it simple made it more fun for everyone who was involved. As you get bigger with number of guests the structure changes.

To retain a meaningful connection after brunch, a guest volunteered to write a reflection blog post. Everyone is at different life stages whether just finishing college and married and expecting your first child. We face similar challenges at the work. We had different stories from travelling from another country, learning English as a second languages, culture norms, understanding the workplace, or figure out life. Power Brunch Sunday gave us an opportunity to meet, talk and have a nice meal together.

 

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